During an unusual Oscars ceremony, on-the-road drama Nomadland triumphed with a win for best picture, best actress and a historic victory for Chloé Zhao, becoming the first woman of colour to be named best director and only the second woman ever.The film, starring Frances McDormand as a woman living out of her van and getting together with real-life nomads, took home the top trophy close to the end of a delayed night and a delayed season amid the pandemic. The ceremony played out in person but with safety precautions and a modest guest list.
"Please watch our movie on the largest screen possible and 1 day soon take everyone you know, shoulder-to-shoulder, for the reason that dark space watching every film that's represented here tonight," McDormand, who also acts as producer on the film, said in her speech, winning two Oscars for picture and actress.
Zhao became only the next woman ever, after Kathryn Bigelow, to be named best director. In her speech, she called making the film a "crazy once-in-a-lifetime journey" and spoke of a childhood game with her father that introduced her to the theory that "people at birth are inherently good", a thing that has stuck with her since. "Despite the fact that sometimes it might appear like the opposite holds true, I've always found goodness in the people I've met," she said.
Even though many had expected Chadwick Boseman to posthumously win best actor for his performance in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, Anthony Hopkins caused an upset by winning for his role in The Father, a drama about dementia. He wasn't open to provide a speech. Christopher Hampton and Florian Zeller also won best adapted screenplay for the film.
Daniel Kaluuya found the award for best supporting actor for his role as the Black Panther Fred Hampton in Judas and the Black Messiah, beating out his co-star LaKeith Stanfield, who was also nominated. Talking about Hampton, he said: "What a man - how blessed we are that people lived in an eternity where he existed." He said the Black Panthers "showed us the energy of union and power of unity" but added "There's so much work to do, guys, and that's on everyone in this room." The film also won best original song for Fight FOR YOU PERSONALLY from HER.
Youn Yuh-jung became the first Korean actor to win an Oscar, picking right up the very best supporting actress award on her behalf role in the family drama Minari. "I don't have confidence in competition," she said. "How do i make an impression on Glenn Close, Tonight, I'm here because I'm luckier than you. I believe maybe it's American hospitality for a Korean actor."
Emerald Fennell found the Oscar for best original screenplay for the darkly comic revenge thriller Promising Young Woman, making her the first woman since 2007 to win the award. "I would like to thank Carey Mulligan not merely to be the most talented person on the globe however the kindest and the funniest," she said in her speech, paying tribute to her nominated star.
Soul won for score and best animated film as the Oscar for international feature went to Denmark's Another Round, whose director, Thomas Vinterberg, was also nominated for best director. He paid tribute to his daughter, who died during production in a vehicle accident. "We ended up causeing this to be movie on her behalf as a monument," he said.
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom won for costume design and best cosmetic and hairstyling, with Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson the first black winners of the award. "I know that one day it will not be unusual or groundbreaking, it will just be normal" for black women, trans women, and Latinas to be claiming Oscars, Neal said.
David Fincher's Mank entered the night time with 10 nominations, the almost all of any film, and left with two wins for production design and cinematography. The Riz Ahmed-led drama Sound of Metal won for sound and editing. Netflix won seven awards at night time, the almost all of any studio or streamer.
After a year of mostly virtual or at least semi-virtual awards ceremonies, the Academy moved from the Dolby Theatre to Union Station in LA with different spots in other cities including London, Sydney, Berlin and Paris to gather a streamlined number of guests personally: just nominees, their guests and presenters. For the 3rd year running, the night was host-less but commandeered by several big names, from Halle Berry to Harrison Ford to Reese Witherspoon to last year's winners such as for example Brad Pitt and Renee Zellweger.
The night time was co-produced by Steven Soderbergh even though he eschewed a number of the standards (best songs were pre-filmed and kept to the pre-show while no single speech was played off with music), he added several stylistic flourishes like the Oscar winner Regina King, director of one of the night's nominated films One Night in Miami, strutting in to the ceremony accompanied by a music, closer to the opening credits of a movie.
She also compared it to a movie set with regards to safety procedures, strictly enforced to permit an in-person event.King also used her time on stage to make mention of the verdict of the Derek Chauvin trial and the fraught US climate that sees persons of colour still disproportionately at risk of police violence. "
As a mother of a black son, I know worries that so many live with no amount of fame or fortune changes that," she said. Her words were echoed by Travon Free, who co-directed police brutality drama Two Distant Strangers, which won best live-action short film. "I just ask that you please not be indifferent, avoid being indifferent to your pain," he said. The animated short film co-winner Will McCormack also made a plea for systemic reform. "
We deserve better, we must do better, we will do better," he said. As he accepted the Jean Hersholdt humanitarian award, Tyler Perry also spoke of the value of refusing hate. While introducing the in memoriam section, Angela Bassett also paid tribute to those that died this year because of this of injustice and racism.
The night's one viral moment came late in your day from Glenn Close who twerked along to see Unlimited's Da Butt, a rare moment of levity in a mostly business-first ceremony.Last year's ceremony, including wins for Joaquin Phoenix and Renee Zellweger and saw Parasite end up being the first spanish film to win best picture, was the least-watched ever. This year's awards arrive after ratings have plummeted for both the Golden Globes and the Grammys.